Posted in Anxiety, Health, Life

Body, mind, and spirit (A confession to my body)

(painting by me)

Out of the blue this feels right to do as I realize that “you” and I did not always have a loving and accepting relationship. Today I acknowledge that the fault is all mine and that most of the time I couldn’t appreciate you the way you are, wishing you’d be different. I gave little attention, never realizing all the hard work you do for me in an effort to get me around and taking care of my daily business. We have been together for a long time and I should know you better than anyone. I should hear your words and warnings when you talk to me about your own struggles, but in most instances, I am selfish, making it all about “me” while finding little compassion for what you face on a daily basis. Today this changes and these words are dedicated to you, my body, because in the end it is you and me who are in this together. There is no separation and equal amounts of attention need to be given as we are a part of each other, body, mind and spirit. One can’t be healthy without the other and together we stand.

I’ve thought long and hard about what I wanted to say to you and there is so much. I could recount numerous occasions, and it is easy to see that I never gave you the credit you so much deserved. From little on, in my teens I had to go to physical therapy because a physical part of me wasn’t developing as it should. I was too young to understand and therefore didn’t blame you, but I do remember some of the excruciating exercises I had to perform to correct the issue. It was no fun to say the least and perhaps it was the beginning of us not being closes. Maybe in a silly not knowing way, through the eyes of a child that didn’t know any better, indirectly I did blame you and thought something was wrong with me. Funny how this feeling and false interpretation somehow became a theme song for me in many other instances of my life always looking for the fault within.

Years later while hitting puberty, I was a late bloomer and the pure pressures of school and classmates who were already visible further ahead of me, caused me to not be patient with you. I couldn’t understand your beautiful works, your process that couldn’t be rushed, that was turning me into a beautiful young woman. I put you under pressure and didn’t appreciate you for all the wonders you were doing for me. As long as I remember there was always something wrong with you in my eyes, although I should have always loved you. Even at my skinniest times, (which looks sick and anorexic to me now), I still found things not meeting my expectations, things wrong with you, whatever they might have been at that time.

I even went as far as evasively changing your appearance in a far cry to save my marriage. What was I thinking? I’ve fed you with junk food because I struggled to make ends meet in today’s middle class. Living healthy was not affordable and convenient. I did the best I could, but never realized how hard this must been on you, nourishing you with junk instead of the right fuel. I expected performance from you, but didn’t create the right conditions for you to support me. Still, you stayed strong for many years while I worked very hard. My jobs were demanding and physical, barely giving me enough time to eat a decent meal. Often there was no time for breaks and the junk had to be devoured with barely taking a breather. Unhealthy eating habits were formed and I still to this day I eat fast, swallowing big chunks without chewing properly. I constantly stop to remember myself to eat slowly, to chew well and give you bitesize little chunks to process. I know I create so much extra work for you having to break down a meal that must be lying in my stomach like a rock before it can be passed own through my system.

Stress and anxiety has been a constant companion in my life and we have fought more battles than we know to count together. You’ve always been a warrior and supported me for the longest, but time was taking its toll and I didn’t notice. You kept it all hidden for me and fought on to face another day. As a way to cope with it all, I fed you with smoke for many years during my smoking days. It couldn’t have been fun for you. I treated you like an ashtray, engulfing you in clouds of smoke instead of letting you breathe clean air, choking the breath right out of you. Luckily the day came when I felt ready and quit cold turkey after buying two full packs of cigarettes.

The damage was done and this all happened right around the time when I became sick with the RA. Everything went haywire and you were showing me what a life could look like, unable to perform the most basic tasks. I surely deserved it, never appreciating anything you did for me before. There were many painful lessons that crippled me over the next month and everything spiraled out of control. The once thought chubby woman (in my perception) was gaining weight I couldn’t get rid of. I found myself stuck in a vicious cycle of being in too much pain to exercise and no way of losing it. After month and month of suffering the RA finally went into remission, something I never thought possible, and still I could not claim a fully healthy lifestyle, balanced with my work and in line with body, mind and spirit. I had to continue doing what I had to and I needed you to support me and perform. I didn’t ask for your help and I didn’t thank you for allowing me to feel better, it just became the expectation. Surely I’ve been healthier by not smoking anymore, but now it was my weight that became my new struggle, leaving me feeling out of shape and challenged to get fit. I simply didn’t feel comfortable on many levels and once again it caused me to look at you negatively. How could I get better, I was still working physically demanding jobs with too little time in between to care for myself properly. But perhaps this just sounds like another poor excuse because where there is a will, there is also a way.

Looking back, it is clear that something was missing. I never fully learned my lesson during my first RA struggles. I failed to see how hard you work for me every day to accomplish all my tasks big and small. It should have been so easy to see, but I chalked it up to other things, such as the willpower to quit smoking, which ultimately you supported as well, through a state of body and mind. I thought it was all me doing it, but who am I? What makes me me? I am a combination of you and I never fully gave you any credit and thanks. It is now and many years later that I finally arrive at this realization. There is a sense of remorse for all the time that has passed, but there is also a sense of relief, of finally having come to that conclusion and seeing clearly. I am grateful for these lessons and the ability to learn them. I fear some others might never will and become bitter in the process of it, feeling like victims and life dealings of the short end of the stick. I say better late than never, and you have my word that positive chances are just around the corner.

What brought me to this point was you and a second reminder. It’s been months and months of struggling with physical pain. Physically I am at the heaviest weight I have ever been, regardless of what I try to lose it. Just thinking and worrying about it seems to do the exact opposite, and I only gain more. It’s quite unusual for someone who has always been thin, and yes as a by product and result of such, I haven’t been very happy with you. This experience has caused me to be very harsh and unforgiving to myself and to you. I see a picture I don’t like in the mirror, but I don’t see the weight you have to carry each day. I don’t acknowledge how hard you, my heart, and all of my self has to work each day, just to make me see another sunrise. I have been ungrateful and don’t give you the credit to make all those things possible for me, despite of thinking that I am a person that doesn’t take things for granted. I know that I have taken for granted some of the most important things in our life’s, not intentionally, but I have. Poor choices, or being stuck in a rut and routine, having to make a living, included.

It was on Monday where all this realization came into focus after a nightmare I had. A significant dream, dreamt by me who hardly ever dreams with my eyes closed. It took a second time around to learn a lesson I should have learned the first time, but I also know the circumstances were not right to fully execute the tools I had at the time. Again you spoke to me through pain, a pain that would force me to listen. You knew I wouldn’t otherwise and I would continue to go ahead on that same destructive path. Once again you rendered me helpless, with pains that took me to the very edge. Along the way you gave me enough glimpses and signs to figure it out, and one such sign was Germany and seeing the nice doctor that helped me. I was so sure that my pains were caused from an RA flare up, but according to him and a blood test he disagreed and said it wasn’t so. That never fully registered with me as the only intense pain like this could only be related to my prior struggles. I never put it together until now that there is such a thing as feeling physical pain through your emotional state of being. The good doctor gave me two shots, one cortisone and another to calm me down, allowing me to get some distance from the emotional dramas that were unfolding in my life.

It was Monday that it became clear to me that my pains are caused from an emotional state of being. From stress, from anxiety about issues in my life that remain unresolved. I don’t know how but I just know. It was then, that I finally stopped blaming you, and realized that I have some tools to make these changes. Your message was loud and clear and you showed me what it feels like to lose the things I never appreciated from you. To feel helpless and crippled, unable to perform basic tasks. Today I am here to say that I am sorry and it’s not nearly enough. I still want you to help me lose wait, but it is so we can have a healthier partnership together. I will never again underestimate everything you do for me, and I hope that through body, mind and spirit we regain full range of motion, without everything being such a struggle.

I still have a tough path ahead of me and the future will require some work, but it looks positive and peaceful, and you will definitely like it there. I will never rush like I needed to before feeding you with junk and not listening to you by pushing on in an unhealthy manner. Together we will work as a team and resolve all issues to put our best life forward. I need you help and support, and I ask you to please invest in me and forgive me. I give thanks to the days with reduced pain, the days you give me another chance to move with more freedom, while I make conscious choices to support our mission. Water included and you shall not run dehydrated again. I’ve long learned my lesson that it is not too expensive or impossible to live healthier. You either pay for it now or you do later, and sometimes it’s just a matter of preplanning and execution.

Tonight as we enter the pink full moon, I will celebrate these new beginnings and give my old self back to the creator. To let the past stand where it belongs and to set the intentions for manifesting a new future. 2019 remains a year of preparation and change. To get situated to where body, mind, and spirit can exist in peace and as one. Tonight this shall be sealed and sent to the universe as I shed the things that no longer serve my purpose and emerge in a clear path, united as one.

Advertisements
Posted in Anxiety

Facing Monsters: Anxiety

You, the one who always gives so much, but seldom gets back the same efforts in return.

The one always willing to help, to lend a hand or an ear, but you who suffers in silence and alone.

You, who tries to understand, but always is left behind feeling misunderstood.

You, the one who is so carefully looking for cues on how to behave, just so you can be accepted.

You, the one who feels socially awkward, and has become a loner, feeling that you don’t fit in.

You, who needs to learn about your own divine beauty and the gifts you have to offer. To protect your energy….

It’s ok to cancel a commitment. It’s ok to not answer a call. It’s ok to want to be alone. It’s ok to take a day off. It’s ok to do nothing. It’s ok to speak up. It’s ok to be yourself. It’s ok to be different. It’s ok to stand up for your beliefs. It’s ok to let go.

Posted in Anxiety, Inspiration, Motivation,

Strong enough

“Be strong enough to stand alone.”

Don’t forget to listen to your heart, it already knows the path. Sometimes it is more important to risk and take a leap of faith, jumping into the unknown, vs. playing it safe, and spend a life wondering “what if”. Life has always found a way to work out how it is meant to be. Trust the process and believe.

Would you rather have loved and lost, or not loved at all? Would you put yourself last and lose who you are in order to please and accommodate others? Would you make excuses for your decisions and your personal needs, to not disappoint those around you? Do you feel it is necessary in order to be accepted?

These are some of the questions we face each day and the answers will vary from person to person. Perhaps there is no right or wrong, only a matter of preference, maturity and personal choice. I always try to remember this when meeting others and there is no “one fits all” type of approach. It allows us to respect and appreciate each other, even if our opinions and choices differ.

It might difficult to find the path at times and to muster the courage to hold our anxiety at bay. But no matter which route you choose, make sure that if you have to, you stay true to yourself, and….

“Be strong enough to stand alone”

Posted in Anxiety, Depression

January 11th

I can only write about this now that it is behind me and things are much better. I went back and forth, weighing the pros and cons, whether I wanted to post this or not, because I don’t like to bring things here that are not uplifting and inspiring. Reality is, life is not always candy and roses and sometimes we struggle with the seriousness of it. What swayed my final decision was the knowledge that depression and anxiety is real. It happens to the best of us, no matter how optimistic and positive we might be. It is something that needs to be shared to help others instead of leaving it in the shadows. It is something that needs to be addressed to let others know that they are not alone. I hope to accomplish this here.

After spending the last ten month in Germany caring for Mom, and recently returning back to the states, I realized how exhausted and weak I had become. Months of sitting by her bedside, struggling with the humidity and other things had left my body with minimal movement and exercise. It resulted in chronic pain of various levels that became a constant. On top of it, I got to experience the extreme pain of a cold shoulder which still affects me today. It’s awful and if you ever had to deal with it, you know that you can’t reach overhead, behind your back, or sleep on that shoulder. Trying to compensate, my entire neck and back region became stiff and one tight mess which robbed me of sleep. With minimal rest for several month, I eventually started my 22 hour journey back to the states. It was too much and my body started to give out. At one point while traveling I didn’t know if I would make it back without asking for help. I managed, drugged up and with the help of painkillers (Advil). It was a bandaid, to prolong the inevitable and just a days after my arrival, I could feel things happening. My legs were so tight, all the way from my calves up to the thighs, it felt like everything was on fire and inflamed. I couldn’t sit on the ground or kneel, and my knee was still hurting from the nasty fall that I took the week prior to my departure.

My health kept deteriorating, but I started to rest a little better in my own bed. I was in so much pain and everything was a struggle. The pain wasn’t just in one spot like it usually is and my entire body seemed to suffer. There was that unstable left ankle that felt as if I had twisted it at some point and it never got right again. It left me wobbly and unsure of my footing. There was the left wrist, which bone was sticking out in an unusual way caused from carrying too heavy bags visiting Mom and from carrying heavy grocery bags. There was the left knee that hurt from the fall and was very sore. Both shoulders were hurting by now and robbed me of sleep, which in turn rendered me unable to perform basic tasks. Not all yet, there were also my legs that felt on fire and there was a pain in my thighs every time I sat down. I just couldn’t get comfortable any which way. I couldn’t stand and walk, and I couldn’t sit and lay. It was misery spelled with capital letters. And finally there were the hands that were weak and couldn’t even hold a plate. I think several past I couldn’t comb my hair.

It kept building and it ate away at me. I became very worried and scared that this might be my new future. It couldn’t be, or could it? They say life isn’t fair, was this the moment that would convince me that this statement is true? Then there was the silence and worry, due to the iPad not working and not being able to talk to Mom. Although I had left Germany, I knew nothing was resolved. Mom was banking on me to get her out of the nursing home. This would mean to dissolve my own life of 30 years, clear and sell a house while I struggled to hold a plate. An immense burden and responsibility that crushed me underneath. Then there was this job issue and not earning any money. And how could I possibly earn any money feeling like this! I was overwhelmed to say the least.

The night into January 10th, I had to get up four times. It was a restless night that was trying and further ate away at me. January 11th, I was woken unexpectedly early and I was beyond sleep deprived. For once the pain allowed me to rest, but then it was something else that robbed me of it again. It was detrimental to me. Every waking hour was hardship and pain and the day started with tears in my eyes because I didn’t know how to put my socks on. My hands and fingers hurt so much it was nearly impossible. I cringed and eventually managed. I never recovered that day and at times I felt like I was having an out of body experience, seeing myself there, a pile of misery just wasting away. Over and over the tears would start and well up my eyes. I couldn’t listen to music, I couldn’t watch TV, I couldn’t do anything. I’m not sure I had a desire to live. With the pain worsening and not getting better, I felt helpless and for the first time I wasn’t so sure anymore that I would pull through all that was going on. Everything was hopeless and nothing mattered anymore. I was scared and found myself caught in a vicious cycle. I really think that I had an emotional breakdown. I wasn’t panicked and felt strangely calm. But I felt so empty and spent, like I had given it all and had no strengths left. All hope and faith I had, my two swords of power were dwindling away. It was awful.

Exhausted I went to bed that night, praying and calling out to the universe to help me. I felt like a wounded warrior, raw and vulnerable. I had no answers as I wondered if this was how it was meant to end. I could only hope I was not yet defeated, and I wasn’t.

January 12th, I woke up rested and to a much clearer head that was able to prioritize the overbearing weight of everything. Surprisingly the day past that was so hard for me, seemed so far away. I felt transformed and everything seemed lifted. I made myself a step goal to get moving, and started exercising through the pain. I got past the fear of my heart weakness from the symptoms I was showing and told myself that there is no better time then now. I’m eating healthy and I’m determined. Physically, I am getting better and yesterday I walked 3819 steps. That might not be a big deal, but it was for me. That’s how bad things had gotten.

Depression and anxiety is real and this has been a scary time for me. I can’t remember last when I had to fight this much to earn my place here. Just to manage the basics. It’s been a tough road full of challenges and I know that some are not so lucky as I am. It’s easy to give up and it’s always harder to fight. January 11th will stand out in my memory as one of my toughest days, but also as one that forced a choice and the believe that the darkness doesn’t last forever. Ask for help and let it go. Don’t be afraid to confide in your loved ones and the universe to support you and always know you don’t have to carry it all by yourself. It can be a very dark and lonely place, but hope and faith is real as well.

Wishing you bright days filled with light and minimum darkness. Stay the course, believe and find something to hold on to. Bless you. ♥️

Posted in Anxiety, Depression, Inspiration

Inner Peace

Picture taken from Pinterest

It was just today that another comment came through to one of my posts I have written in Dezember. It was a post about anxiety, a post that has become one of my more popular posts. So what is that say?

It spoke directly to my heart, as I have felt a lot of anxiety within the last year. And I can usually deal with stress pretty good, but not this time, and life dialed my number in a big way. I felt hopelessly lost in darkness and loss, a depression that’s dangerous, and a anxiety that threatened to choke the life right out of me. In the middle of circumstances out of my hand, feeling hopeless and for the most part alone.

We don’t usually like to talk about those things, do we? I felt it relevant of having to revisit this topic in the hopes to shed light. So why do we keep it all hush hush under the rug? Are we afraid to be viewed as damaged, maybe we would lose our spot in society that we fought so hard for achieving. What about our reputation, would we dare to let someone see our true self?

Your responses told me how many others are out there that are dealing with anxiety every day in the hopes of finding their way. There is a need, a yearning for something to hold onto, whatever that might be. I hope to help and add to that something. There is a beautiful dream we all dream and that is to achieve inner peace. But what will it take?

Unfortunately, I cannot answer that question, as it is different for all of us, but I can bring awareness to the subject. Anxiety and depression is real. Both involve fear as the driving force. Have you acknowledged that? What is it that you are fearful of, how can you eliminate these things from your life? Perhaps it is helplessness which was a big part of my case that is causing you stress.

My best advice to you is to listen to yourself, your heart and your body. Listen to your soul, it already knows the way and everything happens for a reason. Even the real shitty stuff, and chances are you will come out a better person if you can stay the course. You will be wise and full of enlightenment, a warrior and force to be reckoned with.

Don’t be apologetic for taking time for yourself and missing out on prior commitments. No excuses and lies. You are worth it and you are enough.

Stop trying so hard to please everybody around you. The right people, your tribe will love you for who you are and wouldn’t want to change a thing about you.

Forgive yourself often, nobody is perfect. Live and learn and move on. Don’t look back, you are not going there and the past has seldom anything new to say.

  • Love with your heart wide open and don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. Somebody can only hurt you if you allow them to. Shame on them if they take advantage of you. But that is really none of your concern is it now, and you don’t need to get hung up about it. Let it roll off, no need to judge or avenge. Karma will have a way by itself. Knowing that, do you think you could ever get to a point feeling sorry for the person who has just hurt you? Sometimes it’s not because they deserve your forgiveness, but because you deserve freedom and peace of mind.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff? Choose your battles. Will it matter next week?
  • Anger…let it go. Tell me your greatest successes about anger. Where has it ever gotten you? Have you told somebody off and won a fight? And now what????
  • Practice compassion for the next person and always put yourself into their shoes. How can make their day brighter? Pay it forward and it will return back to you.
  • Stay positive and believe in the silver lining.
  • Those are some of the things I have learned in the past and who serve me well. Yet anxiety and depression don’t care, and haven’t stopped knocking on my door. Soon or later, we will all go through a rough patch. It’s serious and dangerous, but you can do it. The darkness is not forever and one day can mean all the difference. It did for me, and I wish you the best of luck. Keep fighting and stay strong. You are never alone and I root for you with all my heart. You got this. 🦋❤️
  • Posted in Anxiety, Life

    As time closes in

    The anxiety crept in again and no matter how hard I try I can’t help it. Time is closing in with only days left until I leave. What a crazy bittersweet feeling. A true love-hate affair. I haven’t packed, a few things are left to do and then there is the house, Mom’s castle and getting it ready to be uninhabited. It should be easy enough to flip the power switch to cut all electricity, but there are also pipes that need to be drained of all water so they don’t freeze without the house being heated. I should do it the day before Christmas Eve as I want to spend as much time as possible with Mom, but then it means I can no longer stay in the house.

    I have asked Mom a few times now if she wants to go to church on Christmas Eve and she hasn’t fully committed. Everything is up in the air. A few goodbyes need to be said, but no plans have been finalized. All I know is that I can’t wait until the last minute and some feelings might get hurt. These moments belong to Mom whether she wants them or not.

    We hit another wall today with the iPad. One thing led to another and pretty soon the ugly face of the same fight raised its ugly head once more. You see it was never a matter of being worried that she can’t learn how to operate it (she is doing fine with it) but a matter of whether she will use the iPad to talk to me. Everything was fine without it before she thinks, but things have changed she does not want to acknowledge. Her reality about the care home is still out of whack and in her mind I am still to blame that she is there. She does not want to stay there and she doesn’t realize that she can’t get out alone. What she hears is that this is up to her and me. Further there is nothing wrong with her she thinks, which automatically places all blame on me. I must be the one that makes it impossible for her to get home and my Dad would be so disappointed and would never tolerate it if he was alive she says. I will have to wait and see, and can only take one day at a time. While there are many cant’s, there are also many can’s and I’m focused on what I can impact and influence, and leave what I can’t. Easier said then done, and sometimes it works and others it doesn’t. What I do realize, no matter how unfair things seem sometime, is that Mom’s reaction are ruled by fear. The fear of me leaving, the fear of being alone again, of having lost control of her life and the fear of her life which changed from everything she once knew.

    I went to bed before 9PM to just rest last night. I took a few aspirins for my troubled heart that gave me much pressure and freight, and just laid down. I focused on my breathing and on staying calm. There is no doubt that the stresses of the year passed has further negatively affected my health. From an active and movement point of view to other reasons, and here too…I am trying to do the best I can. I have to get through it and it’s nothing anyone can do for me.

    This evening I will enjoy a German Christmas market and distract my mind while getting some exercise. It is freezing outside, but there is always Glühwein and I’m looking forward to that and taking some pictures.

    Posted in Anxiety, Inspiration

    Anxiety

    I lied and said I was busy.

    I was busy; but not in a way most people understand.

    I was busy taking deeper breaths.

    I was busy silencing irrational thoughts.

    I was busy calming a racing heart.

    I was busy telling myself I am okay.

    Sometimes, this is my busy, and I will not apologize for it.

    B. Oakman / Anxiety doesn’t knock first